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The Brew Economy: Artisan malt craft house, Pilot, coming to Loudoun

Pilot Malt House will open its first location outside of Michigan in Loudoun County. Times-Mirror/Trevor Baratko
Pilot Malt House will open its second artisan craft malting operation in the country in Loudoun County, investing slightly less than $1 million and creating seven jobs in the process.

Included in the economic development package, Pilot Malt House will purchase more than two million pounds of Virginia-grown barley, wheat and rye over the next three years.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s administration announced the project Thursday, with state Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore representing the administration at a Black Hops Farm celebration in Lucketts. A couple hundred agriculture, tourism and government officials were on hand for the gathering, hosted at the charming-yet-modern Vanish Brewery, which is slated to open in the weeks ahead. Vanish, Pilot and Lucketts Mill and HopWorks will all be located at Black Hops, just north of Leesburg.

“This unique facility in Loudoun County represents another step forward for Virginia as we cement our reputation as key players in the nation’s fast growing craft beer industry, which saw sales increase by more than 22 percent from 2013 to 2014,” Haymore said. "We are experiencing a rebirth in the economy, one that is less dependent on the economy and is more diverse."

Pilot Malt House uses local grains and a blend of traditional and modern processing techniques to produce a variety of base, specialty and custom malts. The Michigan-based company was founded in 2011 and works with several farms in the Great Lake State.

The project is a collaboration between the commonwealth, Loudoun County and Pilot Malt House and includes dollars from the governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund.

“This is a significant win for the commonwealth as it fills a need for current and future craft brewers and builds on my administration’s efforts to make Virginia the East Coast leader in the fast-growing craft beer industry," Gov. McAuliffe said in a statement.

McAuliffe approved a $19,500 grant from AFID Fund to boost the project, and Loudoun County matched those dollars with a local grant.

“Pilot Malt House will close the missing link in Loudoun’s farm brewery industry,” Loudoun Economic Development Director Buddy Rizer said in a statement. “We will now have the ability to malt locally grown grain right here in our county. Pilot Malt House will allow more investment to stay in Loudoun, and will ensure that Virginia’s craft beer industry is heavily rooted in Loudoun’s rural economy.”

Today's announcement comes roughly one year after Black Hops Farm announced its Loudoun County operation. Black Hops collaborates with distilleries, breweries and restaurants to put Virginia agricultural products to use behind the bar.

All four operations -- Black Hops Farm, Vanish Brewery, Lucketts Mill and Hopworks and Pilot Malt House -- will be co-located at the farm north of Leesburg.

Click here to learn more about Pilot Malt House.
Click here to learn more about Black Hops Farm.
Click here to learn more about Vanish Brewery.

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Pilot Malt House will be the first professional malting operation in Virginia.


IT Guru-

I plan to stay here since I am on year 13 of a 15 year mortgage makes no sense to move. Loudoun is good at creating retail and restaurant jobs which would not allow one to afford even a 400K townhouse here (which is the going rate). Fairfax and Montgomery Counties create good paying jobs which is reflected in the higher house prices. Loudoun is a bedroom community which is reflected through the sea of townhomes everywhere. And before anyone says “we are the most wealthy county” I would bet those incomes are derived outside the county. Wealth is not making $125,000 household median income. All that means is this particular household earns high wages (which means little because it gets eaten up in high cost of living).

Congrats to this owner of this craft house, I will try it out at least on the way home from work.

At this rate, everybody will have a beer belly.

I am happy that we are using land in Loudoun for agricultural purposes instead of more townhouses. People who drive on Route 15 should be especially happy that another development is not dumping more cars on a two lane road that should have been widened and improved BEFORE any development was allowed north of Leesburg. Bohica

Everett - just move. Every choice has a price. Better yet, why don’t you open a small business and take all of the financial risk and provide some of those high paying jobs you have to spend so long in your car to get to. Geez…this is really good news and all you do is complain about your commute to your high paying job. Do something about it, huh?

wow! 7 whole jobs created that probably pay no more than $15 an hour. Loudoun county has issues creating high paying jobs, but really good at retail and restaurant (low paying jobs).  That is why we have to travel into Tyson’s, DC , Bethesda for decent paying jobs. Not to mention sitting in traffic 2-3 hours a day.

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